On the trail of Donegal’s ‘secret waterfall’

As children and adults, we are often lured by ‘secrets’ – this promise of getting to know something that was hitherto unknown, or hidden. Of course, in the travel and hospitality industry, this word is often abused – ‘secret hideaways’, ‘secret getaways’ and the like. I have an inherent distrust of such deals or phrases, and sometimes they can also speak of privilege and exclusivity – as if some people are privileged enough to be able to gain access to these deals more than the others. Why were we then, on the trail of Donegal’s secret waterfall?

Belvedere House – places that make your mind wander

Like many Georgian homes of the era, the Belvedere Estate has a walled garden, many walks and landscaped grounds. However, three things stood out for me. One was the story. And by god, what a story. It was as if, it came straight from Edgar Allan Poe's short story collection. There is a wall called the 'Jealous Wall' and this leads us to our story number one. A most haunting, a most unsettling story.

‘Could we exchange husbands?’

We are now under a strict lockdown but I can still remember two things from the small break we undertook between the lockdowns. One is the laughter and joie de vivre of the host of the bed and breakfast where we stayed at, and the other is the sea - the vast swatches of the scintillating brilliant blue that seemed to flutter like a school-girl's ribbon, sometimes to our left, and sometimes to our right - as we wound up and down the Connemara region.

Sunrise, the shade of a Turner’s painting

There was still time for the sun to emerge out of his slumber but the clues were there. It looked like the sun was out of his duvet, and just freshening up, his golden mane visible under the clouds. When he finally emerged, it was like fireworks in the sky - colours and sparks splattered across the vast expanse, his power and rage and light eclipsing everything else. Everyone stood still and watched, mobile cameras in hand.

Sometimes a car is not just a car…

We managed without a car for about two years here in Ireland and during this time, my husband would often complain that he missed being behind the steering wheel and I often thought I missed the man he becomes when he is behind the steering wheel. As the husband starts driving again, I am looking forward to some conversations. The kind of ones we only have when we are on the road and he's driving and has shed off his shyness and his reticence to talk, and is in a happy, meditative, reflective kind of space. I am also looking forward to the music he introduces me to when we are in a car. This past week, he introduced me to The Salmon Dance by The Chemical Brothers and even after listening to the track twice, I missed out on all the swear words that are a part of the song, and kept bobbing my head to the music until my husband laughed out so loud that I was a little startled.

Days of beauty and joy

Even if many such plans are cancelled with the new restrictions, it will be a small price to pay for the safety and health of everyone. Personally, the fact that I had a few absolutely beautiful days gives me the strength that if the coming months have more of social isolation, I will be okay. There's just so much loss and suffering around us because of Covid-19 that whatever problems the new restrictions might pose seem inconsequential in the larger scheme of things.